Meet Our Contributors!

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In...To College

Meet Our Contributors!

Kristin Abrams received her Bachelor of Arts from the University at Albany in 2006. She writes as a journalist for a Travel Resource Website based out of Los Angeles, California. Kristin enjoys boating, swimming, traveling and being with her family. She is currently working on a novel that she hopes to have done by 2009. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Renee Adair is a freshman at Northern Michigan University. She is planning a career in Special Education. She graduated from high school in 2008. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, swimming, writing and music.

Max Adler gained a Master of Letters degree, with distinction, from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland while studying on a Ransome Scholarship. He is an Associate Editor at Golf Digest magazine where he writes regularly and his original fiction has appeared in Golf World. He is also an avid skier and mountain biker. Contact Max at [email protected].

Amy Anderson is an aspiring chef who loves to write novels in her spare time. She plans to attend Johnson & Wales University to receive her degree in Culinary Arts. She enjoys ballroom dancing, volunteering in a local hospital, playing golf, and working in the children’s department at church.

Lauren Andreano is a writer living in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Having successfully lived through her daughter Carolyn’s getting into college, Lauren feels reasonably confident that she will survive her son Andrew’s college search as well.

Aaron Bacall has graduate degrees in organic chemistry as well as in educational administration and supervision from New York University. He has been a pharmaceutical research chemist, college department coordinator, college instructor and cartoonist. His work has appeared in most national publications and he has been a contributor to several cartoon collections. His work has been used for advertising, greeting cards, wall and desk calendars and several corporate promotional books. Three of his cartoons are featured in the permanent collection at the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library. He continues to create and sell his cartoons. He can be reached at [email protected].

Laura L. Bradford is a retired caregiver, who resides in Walla Walla, Washington, USA. She seeks to encourage others through her writings. Some of Laura’s stories have appeared in: Life Savors, and Cup of Comfort books, in addition to the Oregon Christian Writers newsletter. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Thursday Bram is a freelance journalist with over six years experience. She studied Communications at the University of Tulsa and is currently working on her MA in Communication Design. Her work has focused primarily on entrepreneurial topics. More information about Thursday is available at

Tawnee Calhoun will be attending Loyola University of Chicago this fall, double-majoring in Journalism and English. Writing is her passion. Her dream is to become a published novelist. She was published previously in Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: The Real Deal Friends.

Andrea Canale is a junior in high school maintaining high honor roll for the past three years. She writes for the school newspaper. She is a percussionist in the school concert and jazz band. She volunteers in her community and church. She hopes to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist.

Nacie Carson graduated magna cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross in 2007 with an honors degree in history. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and loves her work as a freelance writer. She is currently working on her first novel. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Juan Casanova is a junior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Finance. He was born in Argentina and enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his large family.

Aimee Cirucci is an educator, writer, and communications professional. A proud graduate of Wake Forest University, she now teaches at Temple University where she is also pursuing an MS in Communications. Aimee’s writing focuses on the humorous aspects of families, relationships, and everyday life. Her website is

Madeline Clapps is a student at New York University, studying Vocal Performance and Journalism, as well as an editor at Chicken Soup for the Soul. She enjoys singing, acting, reading, and writing articles, fiction, and poetry. Look for her on the stage, in books, and in periodicals in the future! E-mail her at [email protected].

Rebecca Cramer is a senior at McGill University, where she is pursuing her B.A. in English Literature. She splits her time between the Jersey Shore and Montreal and hopes to pursue a career in writing after graduation.

Michael Damiano is an undergraduate student at Georgetown University. He is currently conducting research on a contemporary Spanish artist named Miquel Barceló. He plans to compile a collection of interviews about the artist during the first half of 2009. He enjoys triathlons, traveling, and playing guitar. Contact him at [email protected].

Ella Damiano is a pre-medical student at Georgetown University, specializing in health care policy studies. She is a volunteer EMT, a member of the Georgetown triathlon team, and is active in politics in her home town and in the Georgetown University College Democrats.

Michelle Desnoyer received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a freelance writer. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Alexsys Echevarria is an alumna of St. Johns University. Alexsys has been writing for years. She is currently a stay-at-home mom. Her daughter is her inspiration.

Aaron Ewert received his Bachelor of Arts of English Literature from Kansas State University in 2008. Aaron currently resides in Chicago and has plans of pursuing a career in writing. Please e-mail him at [email protected].

Molly Fedick is a student at Boston University studying Journalism. She has written for numerous publications including CosmoGirl magazine, and is currently completing her first novel. Molly loves traveling and scouring the racks at Filene’s Basement. She is a member of the BU sailing team and Delta Gamma sorority. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Seth Fiegerman has always believed in the power of words to inform and also to heal. He decided to become a journalist so that he could engage himself in writing full time. His work has been published in several newspapers and magazines. When he is not writing, Seth tries to be creative in other ways. Last year, he learned to play the banjo.

Megan Foley received her Bachelor of Science in Communications from Bradley University in 2005. After a brief career in Public Relations, she plans to return to school to pursue a new career path. Until then, she lives in Chicago and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Marie Franqui is completing her BA now, with an expected graduation date of December, 2008. She has been accepted into the MBA program with UNCW, contingent upon receiving her BA in December. She is married to a United States Marine and is currently living in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Marcella Dario Fuentes attends University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is a graduate student. She enjoys playing her bassoon, traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She plans to move back to her native Honduras and play in an orchestra there.

Sue Lowell Gallion writes for children and adults. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with degrees in Journalism and History. She has a son in college and will be on the campus tour circuit again soon with her daughter. E-mail her at [email protected].

AC Gaughen is twenty-three years old and a recent graduate of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She writes all kinds of young adult fiction and hopes that one day her passion for writing will finance her passion for travel. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

Lauren Gibbons is currently a junior at Providence College. An English and Secondary Education major, she is studying to become a high school English teacher. It is her passion for reading and writing that has ultimately led her to this career. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Alexandra Tracey Gierak graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in English and Design in 2004. She currently lives and writes in Manhattan. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Rachel Glickhouse received her Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from George Washington University in Latin American Studies and Spanish in May 2007. She loves to travel and has spent a great deal of time abroad in the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Brazil. She also enjoys ballet and teaching dance. She hopes to write her own book someday.

Andrea Gosling graduated from New College, Oxford University in 2005 with a BA Hons in English Literature. She lives in the South of England with her partner and many dogs. She spends her time writing and working with young people, silk painting, reading and being outdoors in all weather. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Tina Haapala was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for two-year colleges. She received her Bachelor of Science, with honors, from Arizona State University in 1996. Tina has worked in sales, marketing, and operations management. She enjoys writing, reading, yoga, and belly dancing. Contact her at [email protected].

Jonny Hawkins is a fulltime cartoonist whose work has appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, American Educator, Harvard Business Review, and over 400 other publications. His books — A Joke A Day Keeps the Doctor Away, The Awesome Book of Heavenly Humor and annual calendars— Medical, Fishing and Car-Toon-A-Day calendars are available everywhere.

Rachel Henry lives in Chardon, Ohio. She will be attending Miami University in the fall, where she plans to major in middle childhood education. Rachel enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. Please e-mail her at

Elizabeth Herrera completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University in 2004. She currently works as a career counselor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is passionate about working with adolescents and inspiring them to continue their education and explore career opportunities.

Natalie Embrey Hikel holds a J.D. from the University of Baltimore. She has a passion for litigation, community service, and creative writing. She dreams of making a living out of pursuing all three in tandem. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband. You can reach Natalie at [email protected].

Dennis Hixson grew up in the Northwest and has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho, an Associate of Theology degree from Portland Bible College and a Master’s degree from Trinity Western University. He is currently the vice president of Pacific Life Bible College in Surrey, British Columbia. His wife and four children are his greatest treasures. Dennis enjoys his yearly humanitarian trips around the world, fly fishing, and gardening.

Erika Hoffman received her Bachelor of Arts in English and French Literature from Duke University where she also received her M.A.T. in English Education. She taught in NJ, GA, and NC. Erika’s non-fiction has been published in newspapers, magazines, and the anthology, Cup of Comfort. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Valerie Howlett graduated from Hampshire College last year after studying creative writing, children’s literature, and children’s theater. She worked for a theater company and a law office before finding her wonderful position at Chicken Soup for the Soul! She loves show-tunes, chilling with her younger siblings, curling up with a good book and, of course, writing.

Natalie Howlett is a junior Biology major at Barnard College in New York City. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Liza Johnson received her Bachelors of Science in 2007 from Syracuse University, making the Dean’s List four consecutive semesters. She majored in Advertising and Women’s Studies and minored in Music Industry. She lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and dog, and works at a marketing firm. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jennifer Lee Johnson is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University. She is a freelance writer and editor based in Baltimore, Maryland. She runs The Next Rich Girl, a personal finance blog for young women, and is currently working on her first novel.

Susan Johnston is a graduate of Boston University. As a freelance writer, she covers career and lifestyle topics for a variety of print and online publications. Susan dedicates this essay to her dad for supporting her unconditionally in everything she does. Read more at

Christina Kapp lives in New Jersey with her husband and children. She writes fiction and poetry and is currently finishing her first novel.

Tress Klassen lives in Edmonds, Washington where she attends Edmonds-Woodway High School. She loves to swim, read and write when she’s not busy filling out college applications. She plans to major in Journalism, hopefully at a certain East Coast Ivy League college.

Mary Kolesnikova is working on her MFA in creative writing at the University of San Francisco, where she lives with her boyfriend and two cats. She is the author of the forthcoming young adult novel, Coven, and you can find her online at

Joan Lee received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. She lives in New York and works in publishing. Joan runs a writing group and plans to write books for young adults and children. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Britt Leigh is earning her Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children at Simmons College in Boston. She writes fiction for all ages and always imbues her work with faith, family, friends and fancy. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Melanie Lidman graduated from the University of Maryland with a triple degree in Spanish, Journalism and Ultimate Frisbee. A native of Massachusetts, Melanie has freelanced for a variety of international publications and dreams of living out of a backpack for the next ten years.

Michelle Lott is a writer in Houston, Texas. She is the chief entertainer, maid, and waitress for three cats and a dog who are all single-mindedly focused on their next meal, their grueling napping schedules, and the scourge of vacuum cleaners.

Oren Margolis is a student at New York University, majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication with a minor in Music. He is a student leader at school, in addition to actively studying classical voice and opera. Oren is originally from Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Alexandra May received her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, where she made a lot of friends, did a lot of work, and just generally had a great time. She currently works as a research assistant at Harvard University, and spends her free time writing the first chapters of novels and baking birthday cakes for her friends.

Catherine Mevs will graduate from Princeton University in 2009 with degrees in English and Creative Writing. Catherine enjoys playing tennis, reading, and listening to music. She hopes to write for magazines and someday publish a novel.

Kate Mishara received her Bachelor of Science, in Journalism, from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2008. She loves the beautiful state of Colorado and is full of Buff pride! She enjoys traveling, skiing, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Beth Morrissey graduated Summa Cum Laude from Providence College, and the Providence College Liberal Arts Honors Programme, in 2002. She went on to earn a First Honours Masters degree in Library and Information Studies from University College Dublin, National University of Ireland in 2004. Today Beth is a freelance writer in Dublin, Ireland. Visit Beth online at

Valerie Muller received her Bachelor of Arts in English at Franklin & Marshall College and her Master of Education at The College of William and Mary. Currently a high school English teacher, she writes in her spare time. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Nell Musolf grew up in Illinois and has lived in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and currently resides in Minnesota. Nell enjoys writing about her family.

Hank Musolf was born in Wisconsin and now lives in Minnesota with his family. He plays the cello in his high school orchestra and is also on the Speech Team.

Joe Musolf lives in the Midwest. He enjoys music (almost all kinds), playing his bass guitar, working, friends, and school (sometimes).

Clara Nguyen is currently studying at East Carolina University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History with a Studio Concentration. She enjoys finding new ways to re-create recipes, music, and painting.

Jacqueline Palma is a high school senior who will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall of 2008. She plans to continue taking many literature and writing courses in college. Jacqueline enjoys photography, reading, diving, and dancing. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Donna Paulson received her Bachelor of Arts from S.U.N.Y. Albany before moving to the island of Martha’s Vineyard where she has lived for twenty-seven years. A mother of four children, she enjoys writing as well as reading novels, going to the beach and attending church. E-mail Donna at [email protected].

Ian Pike is a part-time and full-time writer living in Boston. He is the proud parent of an adorable guinea pig named Ignatius J. Reilly, who he loves very much even though the little guy can be unfriendly.

Stephanie Piro lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three cats. She is one of King Features’ “Six Chix” (she is the Saturday chick!). Her single panel, “Fair Game,” appears in newspapers and on her website: She also designs gift items for her company Strip T’s. Contact her at: [email protected] or: 27 River Road, Farmington, NH 03835. Stephanie went through the college application experience with her (now married!) daughter, Nico, so she knows the craziness first hand.

Kathleen Whitman Plucker is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. Her work has appeared in both children’s magazines and anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2. A married mother of two, Kathleen enjoys organizing events, taking pictures, and scrapbook-ing. You may reach Kathleen at [email protected].

Angela Polidoro received her Bachelor of the Arts, with high honors, from The College of William and Mary in 2006. She currently works in publishing in New York City and when she has the time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and (occasionally) pretending that she’s still in college. You can contact her at [email protected].

Becky Povich lives near St. Louis, Missouri. Her stories have been published in previous Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, local magazines and newspapers. She recently began writing a column for the Adair County Free Press, in Greenfield, Iowa. Both sets of her grandparents and her parents are from there. She is currently working on her memoir. Becky can be reached at [email protected].

Felice Prager is a freelance writer from Scottsdale, Arizona with credits in local, national, and international publications. In addition to writing, she also works with adults and children, who have moderate to severe learning disabilities, as a multisensory educational therapist.

Pallavi Prathivadi is currently completing her medical degree at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She hopes to be a writer in the future, and would like to specialise in neonatology. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Sumana Prathivadi immigrated from India to Australia in 1991 with her husband and her daughter. Four years later they had their son. Sumana has a Master’s degree in Economics and is now working in the health industry. She loves reading, writing, going for walks and spending time with her family.

Tom Ranocchia is a student at King School in Stamford, Connecticut. A senior, he hopes to go to college to study journalism after he finishes high school. He can be reached at [email protected].

Kayleen Reusser has published four children’s books and has had more than 1,500 articles on travel, profiles, and essays published and accepted in books, newspapers, and magazines, including Elks, The Lookout, Business, People Magazine, Grit, Farm and Ranch Living, and Indianapolis Monthly magazines. She can be reached at

Morgan Richardson’s hobbies are reading, writing, cooking, playing video games, listening to music, playing music, and watching videos and television.

Elaine Ernst Schneider is an accomplished writer for many audiences. Her children’s devotional book, 52 Children’s Moments, is carried by Amazon. Other curriculum guided articles are available at

Maxwell Schulz recently graduated from Northtown Academy High School and is looking forward to attending the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana in the fall. Currently he is busy mowing lawns in Chicago. Max also enjoys playing baseball and hopes to major in Geography. Please contact him at [email protected].

Courtney Sohn attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison, double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. Courtney hopes to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, public relations or law. When she’s not studying, Courtney can be found reading, shopping or outdoors. She would love to hear from you at [email protected].

Joyce Stark left local government to write a book about her USA/European travels and a children’s series. She has met so many interesting people that her mind is like a busy airport: ideas on the ground, about to land and many circling overhead. Contact her at [email protected].

Alexandra Swanson currently attends Northeastern University where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, in English. She helps run and enjoys writing, singing, and learning foreign languages. She hopes to become a fantasy or young adult novelist. E-mail her at [email protected].

Bo Swindell graduated from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts in May of 2008 and will attend the University of Virginia in the Fall of 2009. He played water polo and was on the swim team at Deerfield and hopes to study International Relations in college.

Michelle Vanderwist is currently a student at Georgetown University. She loves to draw, paint, play the guitar, work with animals, and stay active. Michelle is a terrible cook but has a hidden talent for hula hooping. E-mail Michelle at [email protected].

Sourena Vasseghi received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Southern California in 2001. Undaunted by his handicap, he writes self-help books and inspires everyone with his motivational speaking message “Love Your Life and It Will Love You Back.” Please e-mail him at [email protected].

Gail Veale is a wife, mom, and homemaker in North Carolina. She enjoys spending time with her two children and daughter-in-law, on and off the Ultimate Frisbee field. Gail likes to go fishing with her husband and leads a Women’s Bible study group in her neighborhood. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Nick Walker is an on-camera meteorologist for The Weather Channel and author of “Sing Along with the Weather Dude,” a CD/Book to teach kids about weather. This is his second story in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. You can contact him at his “Weather Dude” web site at

Wendy Walker is the author of the widely acclaimed Four Wives, released in 2008. Her next novel, The Queen of Suburbia, will be released in 2009. Wendy is also editing Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms, celebrating stay-at-home and work-from-home mothers, scheduled for publication in the spring of 2009.

Barbara Wheeler recently earned her Associate of Arts degree from Northern Virginia Community College and is now a junior studying English at the University of Virginia. Besides writing she enjoys hiking, running, reading, and playing the piano. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Dallas Woodburn has published two collections of short stories and is currently shopping her first novel to publishers. Her writing credits include four other Chicken Soup for the Soul books, in addition to the magazines Family Circle, Writer’s Digest, and Cicada. Learn more about her nonprofit literacy foundation “Write On!” at

Maria Wright received her associate degree from Vet Tech Institute in 2007, and works as a veterinary technician in an animal clinic. She has two cats, Tami and Sydney, and a naked rat, Maverick. She looks forward to having a house and big yard she can share with some dogs.

Krystie Lee Yandoli is a graduate of Greenwich High School and a columnist for both the Greenwich Post and Greenwich Citizen. Glad that the college admissions process is over, Krystie now attends Syracuse University. Someday, she hopes to be the kind of journalist who changes the world.

Ian Zapcic recently graduated from Ramapo College and is hoping to pursue a career in writing. He also enjoys music, theater, friends, family, animals, and discovering new things. He lives with his family on the New Jersey Shore.

Maria Zawistowski currently lives in Lewiston, NY. Maria has been an educator for many years and now works as an Assistant Principal of an elementary school. Her interests include photography, travel and writing.

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